FORUM Sexuality Education and Family Planning
Sexuality and Disability
When we first discussed the issue of “sexuality and disability” in the FORUM series (issue 2/3-2001), the Editorial discussed “admitting what you don’t know”: today the range of this issue remains extensive. In addition to the central and long-term issue of self-determined sexuality, the rights and wrongs of “sexual assistance” – a major issue at that time – were also discussed.
We are therefore extremely pleased to re-examine the issue of “sexuality and disability”, and to look at new themes, again discussed by excellent authors.
Sexuality as a human right – Ralf Specht provides an overview of recent discussions in academia and the prospects of a sex-positive future for everyone.
The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) is viewed by many professionals in this field as a milestone in the history of the struggle for the self-determination of sexuality. It came into force in Germany in March 2009 and, for the first time, considers the issue of disability policy from the human rights perspective. Sigrid Arnade provides an extensive report on the content and significance of the UNCRPD.
The lawyer, Julia Zinsmeister, examines the law and legal reality with regard to sexual self-determination in assisted living facilities. Her article delineates the legal aspects in a clear and comprehensible way, applying these rigorously to the practical situation; this also involves consideration of structural problems. She investigates the extent to which the existing right to privacy is an applicable prerequisite for self-determined relationships. Martina Puschke reports on the higher self-esteem of disabled women, their attitude towards sexuality and sexual assistance, their fight against sexual violence and other issues.
Many of our authors refer to the work of the self-help association “Mensch zuerst – Netzwerk People First Deutschland e.V.” This organi sation is regularly mentioned in connection with the issue of “plain language” and the general use of language that people with learning difficulties can identify with. Stefan Göthling is Secretary of the association and has defined the tasks and duties of the association clearly and comprehensively (this is to be welcomed, and not only by the translators and copy-editors of this issue).
Aiha Zemp from Basel has focused on the prevalence and causes of sexual violence: according to international studies, women with disabilities are subject to this violence twice as often as non-disabled women.
The article by Beate Martin looks at concepts and successes in the world of continuing professional development (CPD) within the context of care for persons with disabilities. Sigrid Weiser from pro familia, the leading German NGO for sexual and reproductive rights, writes on the many years of commitment of the organisation to the area of sexuality and disability.
Finally, we have added a new section “Projects”: one-page presentations of the reality of existing practice: “In Sachen Liebe unterwegs” [On the road. Talking about love], based in the AWO advisory centre in Lore-Agnes-Haus in Essen, and “Liebe, Lust & Frust” [Love, desire and frustration] from Lebens hilfe Berlin, “Eigenwillig” [Independent], a project from the Familienplanungszentrum in Hamburg and “Liebe, Sex und Drumherum” [Love, sex and all that] from adult education services in Hamburg.
The editors of this issue can be contacted at the address below. We are always very happy to receive your proposals for publications, projects, conferences, etc. for the Infotheque section.